Regional Rail (including North-South Rail Link)

CSTH

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...and there are a lot of grade crossings in Needham that blue cant do, plus a lot of the stations rely on pedestrian track crossing.
 

fattony

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Do you guys think if we were going to “go for it”... blue to riverside would be a better idea? Either by way of the esplanade/storrow or tunnel under Beacon since blue and green both use overhead wires and it would make a ton of sense to connect to red at mgh then continue on to the back bay where no other options have existed yet then under Kenmore and on to Riverside. Eventually the Lynn extension would create a blue line consisting of Lynn to Riverside which seems like the ideal option vs orange to Riverside. Everything has hurdles and the track gauge is one, but I think if were gonna do it do it right. Then the Orange can be extended to Needham heights and Readville to meet up with whatever ends up on the indigo line some day and allow much better headways on the Needham line.
That doesn't really address the same needs and Regional Rail or NSRL, so its hard to say if it is "better." My understanding is that RR or RR+NSRL will have massive impact on suburb-CDB commuting patterns and on town/small-city centers across eastern Mass. I see Blue-eats-D (if it is even possible) to primarily improve things for a much smaller number of urban and inner-suburban residents.

I think the improvements planned for the Green Line - Type 10's, stop consolidation, signal priority, etc - will greatly improve service for all Green Lines and will hit the D-Line first. I suspect the reason Blue-eats-D never never happened in the past is because it isn't that impactful.
 

whittle

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I don't really get the point of Blue to Riverside. You'd need to spend at least $1 billion and shut down the entire branch for months (more likely years), and in exchange you get all door boarding, 60 mph top speed, and higher capacity. All door boarding is already coming, Type 10s will already be bringing back 50mph speeds, and the corridor doesn't demand that much capacity. Really the only argument I could see for this would be to open up capacity in the GL tunnel for a A-branch to Harvard, but tunneling the BL though Lower Alston seems like a more compelling option if this is the goal.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Blue-west has zilch to do with RER or NSRL. There's only one scenario where it would ever go on the table: if there was agreement to tear down Storrow Dr., and if that agreement came with ironclad commitment to a transit trade-in in the same project area. That means it's off-limits without Storrow, and anything west of Kenmore is out-of-scope.


It's SEVERAL degrees of difference apart to be talking Lynn-Riverside.




The other demerits listed here are legit. Can't do Needham Branch without LRT because the grade crossing eliminations are blowout-cost for little benefit on HRT and Blue wouldn't fare well under branching. And you need the D to Brookline Village for the Urban Ring. And the ridership characteristics for the D are wretched for load-balancing w/Eastie-Revere dwells, making headway management overly brittle.


But mainly, you simply can't consider it at all until Storrow's got a mandate and the Kenmore extension is built. Is...four?...wholly theoretical steps from now relevant discussion today? What about Step 1 to Charles as first use of energy?
 

CSTH

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...plus where the Blue actually wants to go is Watertown Sq...
 

Arlington

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Meanwhile, my first AM Orange Line commute from the Northside in 10 years shows it is crush loaded from NS to Back Bay (where it suddenly empties) Some of the pitch for NSRL really is the naive Northside to Back Bay (and giving the Orange Line "back" to its neighbors).
 
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JumboBuc

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Globe: MBTA Mulling Electric Locomotives

Adam Vaccaro said:
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority apparently wants to test some electric commuter rail trains.

The agency has been in touch with Amtrak about leasing some electric locomotives for some of the trips between Boston and Providence, according to Joseph Aiello, the chairman of the agency’s board.

Amtrak already runs electric service on that stretch of its Northeast Corridor route. But the T uses diesel locomotives on its commuter rail network, even on rail lines that have electric service.

Aiello disclosed the Amtrak discussions at a recent event in Lynn. Such an arrangement would allow the T to test electric commuter rail on a line that is already equipped for the service, while freeing up existing locomotives for service on other lines. He had previously urged the T to consider testing electric service on the Providence line, following a similar request from the activist group Transit Matters.

[...]
 

HelloBostonHi

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That's actually a quite good idea. I'm not sure if there will be that many benefits to riders from the move but tried and tested locomotives pared with existing carriages, this kind of thing could be implemented literally tomorrow. Can provide needed extra locomotives during peak times. Unfortunately I think the T needs more carriages than it needs more locomotives right now, more locomotives could provide more frequency but as far I can tell commuter rail needs more capacity and needs it like last year. Shame there's not many passenger rail services in the US to lease carriages from.
 

bakgwailo

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That's actually a quite good idea. I'm not sure if there will be that many benefits to riders from the move but tried and tested locomotives pared with existing carriages, this kind of thing could be implemented literally tomorrow. Can provide needed extra locomotives during peak times. Unfortunately I think the T needs more carriages than it needs more locomotives right now, more locomotives could provide more frequency but as far I can tell commuter rail needs more capacity and needs it like last year. Shame there's not many passenger rail services in the US to lease carriages from.
I think it at least helps commuters a bit even without capacity upgrades: the electric push/pulls should at least accelerate better (maybe shaving a few minutes off), and, most importantly should in theory be an order of magnitude more reliable than the existing diesels.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Beware that the electric infrastructure is not set up for even a significant portion of the Providence schedule to run electric, so when they say "trial" they mean like no more than 2 or 3 short-term lease Siemens Sprinters covering a fraction of the schedule...everyone else riding behind the same diesels as always, and no schedule improvements because the schedule still has to be predicated on a 79 MPH-capped diesel set. Pawtucket layover is un-wired, and the T's own parking spots at Widett Circle are un-wired. An electric set would have to take up space at crowded Southampton Yard on the Boston end or shivving onto an extremely short wired turnout track along Harris Ave. just south of Providence Station. Until capital spending is approved for the layover and raw electric capacity it ensures that basically only 1 electric set can be in-service on any given Providence schedule at any time...2 sets at absolute max. if they're going to be passing each other midway.

This is a technology demonstrator for the Siemens Sprinter in T hands so they can poke around it, and to match them in sets with bi-level coaches that have been uprated to 93 MPH max speed to see where they can gun it in non-revenue tests. It is not a service demonstrator, and because of the rest of the schedule still needing to be spaced for running 79 MPH-rated F40/GP40 locos and 79 MPH-rated single-level coaches or the portion of Kawasaki bi-levels that haven't yet gone through midlife rebuild...it's not going to be a different rider experience. The capital prerequisites (layovers, Sharon substation expansion, etc.) would need to be programmed a few years in advance in order to make for a real service trial.

It's still a good thing that they're reaching out for the tech demo. That alone suggests a willingness for doing their homework that we haven't seen before, and opens up the door for trying the same thing in same limited fashion with a borrowed EMU set. Just don't get too overexcited about it because the commuter electrification infrastructure is in no way set up to do better than one-at-a-time runs, and thus this is meant to be an internal-facing demonstrator for the agency not customer-facing.
 

tysmith95

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I think it at least helps commuters a bit even without capacity upgrades: the electric push/pulls should at least accelerate better (maybe shaving a few minutes off), and, most importantly should in theory be an order of magnitude more reliable than the existing diesels.
I'm not sure about the reliability. Power is frequently knocked out to suburban communities during storms, that would affect the commuter rail too.
 

JeffDowntown

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I'm not sure about the reliability. Power is frequently knocked out to suburban communities during storms, that would affect the commuter rail too.
I am pretty sure that the NEC electric feed is way more secure than the power feed to suburban bedroom communities.

You don't hear that Amtrak is stalled because the power is out in Attleboro.
 

DominusNovus

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I'm not sure about the reliability. Power is frequently knocked out to suburban communities during storms, that would affect the commuter rail too.
Depends on the towns and neighborhoods. When my wife rented in Chestnut Hill, a stiff breeze would knock out power. I gotta think that the infrastructure for the CR will be a bit more durable.
 

fatnoah

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You don't hear that Amtrak is stalled because the power is out in Attleboro
It's hilarious that you mention this. Two or three years ago, I was on a train to NYC stuck somewhere around Attleboro due to a power outage. Something shorted out somewhere and it killed the power ahead of us. It was a short wait for the power to be restored, but apparently it left some lingering issue with signals, so we cruised at a majestic 5-10mph for a few miles before resuming track speed.

Agree that it's a rare event, though and a lot of ROW maintenance is done to ensure that.
 

tysmith95

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Depends on the towns and neighborhoods. When my wife rented in Chestnut Hill, a stiff breeze would knock out power. I gotta think that the infrastructure for the CR will be a bit more durable.
True. At least when I lived in Andover, power would go out for days at a time on average about once a year. Everyone on the street where I lived had generators.

But yes I'd hope the Commuter Rail is more durable. Would likely require a lot of tree cutting (which might be controversial).
 

MjolnirMan

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I'm not confident that a power outage that affects electric Amtrak service on the NEC could somehow be avoided by the MBTA CR continuing to run diesel. Besides the fact that there are bottleneck points between PVD and BOS that would cause MBTA coaches to get stuck behind a downed NER/Acela train on the same route, a lot of the infrastructure is also electric.

As a timely example, last night MBTA train 832 (6:57pm out of Wickford) ended up having a 30+ min delay just south of Canton Junction. The conductor relayed that this was because Amtrak lost power to the switch at Canton, and everything in both directions on the Providence/Stoughton line and NEC was backed up as a result.
 

tysmith95

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I'm not confident that a power outage that affects electric Amtrak service on the NEC could somehow be avoided by the MBTA CR continuing to run diesel. Besides the fact that there are bottleneck points between PVD and BOS that would cause MBTA coaches to get stuck behind a downed NER/Acela train on the same route, a lot of the infrastructure is also electric.

As a timely example, last night MBTA train 832 (6:57pm out of Wickford) ended up having a 30+ min delay just south of Canton Junction. The conductor relayed that this was because Amtrak lost power to the switch at Canton, and everything in both directions on the Providence/Stoughton line and NEC was backed up as a result.
That's only one line that interferes with the NEC for most of its distance. Yes there are other lines that interfere north of Readville, but that's for a short distance that is mostly triple tracked anyway.
 

bakgwailo

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I'm not sure about the reliability. Power is frequently knocked out to suburban communities during storms, that would affect the commuter rail too.
I meant average breakdowns/repairs per mile. However, the NEC seems to do reasonable well during storms, at least as well or better than the current diesels in blizzards/etc. As does NYC/NJ, London, Germany, northern Europe, etc.
 

DominusNovus

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True. At least when I lived in Andover, power would go out for days at a time on average about once a year. Everyone on the street where I lived had generators.

But yes I'd hope the Commuter Rail is more durable. Would likely require a lot of tree cutting (which might be controversial).
Thats the problem right there. People freak out every time any tree gets cut. Its the rich communities that tend to lose power the most, in my experience. In Quincy, I think our neighborhood has had two black outs in the past five years (and I’m rounding up, I only specifically remember one).
 

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